Something about lighthouses takes me out of the confines of today and launches me into daydreams of nomadic travelers and great adventures. It makes me want to grab a pipe and start saying “hey matey!” to everyone I meet (this may not go over well with my husband). What better place to do this than in God’s Country (aka the Palos Verdes Peninsula) at the Point Vicente Lighthouse?
Point Vicente Lighthouse was erected in 1926 (and still houses Coast Guard families today) to warn approaching ships of the point’s rocky existence. Its jagged outcrops could easily sneak up on mariners as they followed the ragged shoreline of the California coast. The lighthouse sits on top of a 130 foot cliff with swaying palm trees and wind-drafting pelicans adding to its mystique. There is even a helicopter pad on the property which former President Richard Nixon used during his visit.
Its crown jewel is the 5-foot third order rotating Fresnel lens which illuminates a two million candlepower white light that shines up to 24 miles out to sea, crazy! The lens is a double sided light which means it flashes every two seconds. The foghorn, located on the edge of the cliff, blows every 30 seconds when visibility becomes less than 3 miles. The foghorn sound is focused out to sea which is a bonus for the neighboring communities who may not appreciate a wide open sounding blow horn.
Locals talk about a female ghost who wanders the lighthouse looking for her lost love. They say she can be seen periodically as you drive past the lighthouse at night. Others say it is just a trick of the light when it rotates. I’ll go with the romance of the woman searching for her love. In any event, Point Vicente Lighthouse is a fun place to visit (and it’s free!).
They are open the second Saturday of every month except for March when they are open on the first Saturday. Hours are 10:00am to 3:00pm and you can visit their website at: www.vicentelight.org.